Enough about Senate Scandals already!!  Let’s not  forget Robocalls!

Enough about Senate Scandals already!! Let’s not forget Robocalls!

We have recently been overwhelmed by story after story about the plague of the recent Senate spending scandals with even more to come I am sure. Oh sure this makes for a good read as we see where every penny our taxpayer money gets spent in some questionable manner.  But really, we need to get past this and look deeper into a more ominous and potentially costly (politically and financially) scandal on our political landscape.  We must not forget to address the Robocalls fiasco from the 2011 election.

Don’t get me wrong, the kind of devious “accounting” that was involved in the Senate expenses scandal is not to be taken lightly.  There is absolutely no excuse for such flagrant disregard for taxpayer dollars.

However, I think that of bigger concern is the Robocalls incidents, that as of yet have not been thoroughly investigated.

Actually, what investigations that have been carried out to date have been rather weak.  All parties have a stake in this but the Conservatives have the most to lose.  They might want to do some digging of their own so that they can limit the potential damage.

You see, Robocalls has nothing to do with thwarting democracy or denying people the right to vote.  No kids, it comes down to, as usual, money!

I recently read a great article “We may sell our votes, but our civic culture still abides” by John Ivison in The National Post that mentions a new book by Ottawa journalist Susan Delacourt: Shopping for Votes — How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them.  (I’ll have to get this. OMG, the second book I have bought this year written by a Toronto Star reporter.  I am going to get my Conservative membership revoked.)

This is bang on.  The political marketing machine is big business and some people will take desperate actions to get in on part of that wealth.

As Ivison so aptly points out “Mr. Harper — “Canada’s first marketing prime minister” — built an electoral machine that was so precise in its micro-targeting that it knew which 500,000 voters the party needed, where they lived and whether they were likely to vote.”

The Conservatives are indeed head of the class when it comes to voter identification and marketing.  Having been involved in the design of the Track Right voter database system for the Ontario PC Party back in 1998 (yes, that’s right, 1998!) I have a good sense of how far they have come and the great advantage systems like CIMS are.  However, too much scrutiny of such systems might be a bad thing for the Conservatives.  If people know how “the magical machine behind t curtain” works it doesn’t seem so magical now does it?  Voters could become wise to their methods and either fail to answer the party’s calls, or even worse, provide some misinformation of their own to throw off the Conservatives.

When the story about Robocalls first broke there was an awful lot of finger-pointing going on.  Many companies were accused of being involved in this grand conspiracy.  With the amount of money that is spent doing telephone voter identification, some of these companies have a lot to lose if they were to lose big contracts from political parties.  So you have to ask yourself, why would a company who is doing quite well financially from voter identification work come up with a “genius idea” (sic) of misleading opposition voters to gain political advantage? Would they make more money doing this? Probably not.  I have my theories on who is responsible but I am going to keep them close until I have done more research. (Us crazy librarians are good at that)

The why however is a different story.  It might be quite profitable if you have the chance to create mischief, and then have the main contractor under a significant cloud of suspicion, take a beating in the media and best of all possibly lose lucrative future business.  Ah yes, as I said before that’s where the money comes into play.  No ideology here. Just sketchy business practices.

So the Conservatives would be wise to do some more investigating of their own in order to limit the damage.  When you have such an advantageous tool at your disposal it is probably best advised to protect that tool. It might not be in your best interest to have such a dark cloud over your head and the suspicious scrutiny by the electorate of every move you make during the election causing you to waste valuable resources or miss your target.

For their own good, the best thing for the Conservatives to do would be to do some thorough investigation of their own so that when the “hounds at the gate” move on after the smoke from the Senate scandal clears, the Robocalls mess is not an easy target.  Too much has been invested in this and there is too much to lose.

Back to all works